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U.S. mulls where to charge captured pirate

The U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to prosecute a Somali pirate in Washington or New York.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Justice Department is considering whether to prosecute a Somali pirate in Washington or New York.

That's according to U.S. officials who spoke following the daring rescue of a U.S. sea captain and the apprehension of his only surviving captor yesterday. They commented on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Washington federal courts normally handle cases involving crimes committed against U.S. citizens abroad. But the FBI office in New York takes the lead when crimes are committed against U.S. citizens in Africa.

Both piracy and hostage-taking carry life sentences under U.S. law and this is shaping up as the first U.S. piracy case in recent memory.

A top U.S. Navy commander says prosecutors are also considering taking the pirate to Kenya, where there's an agreement to try captured pirates. But that agreement has never been used following an attack on a U.S. ship.

More on Somalia  |  Richard Phillips